Q: When should one get tested if symptoms appear?
On Covid symptoms, let’s first talk about the fully vaccinated people since vaccination has started across India, fully Vaccinated people with ‘no Covid 19 symptoms’ don’t need to be tested even if they are exposed to someone with Covid19.
Exposure here means being within 6 feet of the infected person for less than a total of 15 minutes and no symptoms means no fear. But if the duration of exposure is more, then whether one is vaccinated or not who notices infection symptoms shall take the RT-PCR test without any delay.
The question then comes, why not an antibody test? An antibody test or serology test tells us about the past infection and therefore it shall not be used to diagnose a current infection. In the RT PCR test report look for the CT value. If the CT value is 35 or less then it means the person is Covid positive. A higher value on the other hand, signifies less probability of Covid viral load.
Q: What if a person has symptoms but tests negative?
There are situations when the CT value is higher which means the test is negative but the person has symptoms of Covid. It can mean that the viral load is less but the symptoms are visible. The person has contracted the disease albeit at low intensity.
Since the test swab is taken from the nose or throat the infection may not have passed onto the lungs but what it means is that it’s an asymptomatic case of mild indications who can affect others.
Q: How should one isolate after the RT-PCR test is found positive?
Stay home except to get medical care. Monitor symptoms, if one has trouble breathing then seek emergency medical care immediately.
Stay in a separate room from other household members and use a separate bathroom. Avoid contact with other members in the house or even pets. Don’t share personal items, like cups, towels, and utensils, and wear a mask when around with other household members.
Q: Is there a prophylactic that may be taken to prevent Covid?
A prophylactic is a medication or a treatment that can be used as an advance guard to prevent onset of a disease in the body. At present, the Covid treatment guidelines don’t recommend any drugs that are pre-exposure prophylactics.
Q: What’s the effect of overuse of steroids at home?
Steroids in the early stage of Covid19 can replicate the virus. Misuse of steroids can lead to pneumonia and mucormycosis. Early and wrong use of steroids leads to more complications than benefits as they repress the immune system. Steroids should be avoided in the first five days of the infection.
Q: When should one go for hospitalization?
A patient should go for hospitalization if oxygen saturation SpO2 dips below 90 percent. SPO 2 of 90% is considered a clinical emergency as per ICMR guidelines.
Signs like experiencing breathlessness, persistent fever for 5-7 days, vomiting or diarrhoea, extreme sleepiness or inability to wake, difficulty in speaking, confusion or sudden change in mental status, inability to walk across a room are all red flags that indicate that the patient needs expert care and shall be admitted to a hospital.
Q: Back to basics, what’s the correct way to use an oximeter?
Remove nail polish, warm your hand if cold, rest for at least 5 minutes, rest your hand at chest level & hold it still. Switch on the oximeter & place it on your middle finger, take the reading after a minute. Record the highest result, record three times a day and for three days at the same time.
Q: What’s Proning? How does it help and when to do proning?
Proning is a medically approved position in which patients are made to lie on their abdomen to boost the oxygen levels. This can be done at home. Proning as an exercise is advised to patients in hospitals too so that they may not require additional oxygen support. If Oxygen saturation SpO2 drops below 94, timely proning and good ventilation is recommended.
Sunil Kumar Kalra
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Whatsapp +7 916 227 5503
Sunil Kumar Kalra, LLB from Delhi University is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi and NCDRC Delhi. He was formerly a Vice President at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories and Genpact LLC.
Disclaimer : The information contained in above article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical consultation from a qualified doctor/healthcare professional.